The keys.

It was the first day of a new term today.

A new morning after a long summer holiday, with hot and sticky days in the town and blustery days on the beach; the first time we saw lightening in a cloud was this summer, huddled on the back step in Norfolk, watching the storm above the sea.

The usual morning chaos returned this morning, with the novelty of it bring the first week back ensuring we were up at a more reasonable hour than in July, with shinier shoes and neater hair.

I ushered the children- freshly uniformed and keen- out of the door and down the road, chatting and listening to their excited nervousness. I was thinking about my day ahead too.

And then I remembred. I had forgotten my keys. Again! Just like Sunday. I stopped, bag in hand, children cluttering up behind me on the pavement. Never mind. No time to go back!

I could see them, still on the side in the living room. Un-jangling.

Attempts to contact R failed. Later he said:

Stop forgetting your keys.

Yes, well. I should. I might. I’ll try to.
But in reality, I won’t. I will always be the key-forgetter, the paper-loser, the one who never quite remembers things.

I can leave the house with three children, three lunch boxes, three PE bags, flasks and book bags. I can remember phone numbers from old houses and irrelevant postcodes, lines of poetry and the lyrics to entire East17 albums. I will remember birthdays of people I never see anymore, recipes, the final scene from Hamlet, but I will always forget my keys.

Sometimes, the smallest of things can undo you.


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